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Thursday, 13 February 2020 22:31

Quo Vadis - Le Moyne College Experience

Written by Santa Orlando
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Quo Vadis, Latin for Where are you going? It is a program meant to help those (most often college students) who have been on an immersion trip, to process and incorporate the experience into their lives going forward. 

Santa & Albany Chapter members

Santa Orlando and a team from the Albany Chapter met on February 9th with thirty students from LeMoyne College in Syracuse NY to help them process their immersion trips to Jamaica, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic. This Day of Discernment was meant to be a forum for the students to spend time remembering the surprises, events and gifts that will forever remain etched upon their hearts. Affiliates believe post-reflection is one of the most important aspects of cultural immersion trips. Many programs focus on preparing groups prior to their trips, yet time to process the experience after returning is often omitted. Affiliates are providing this service to groups returning from immersion trips to encourage them to share their experience with those who have taken trips such as these and have been changed by the experience.

An Albany Affiliate team of six facilitated this day, encouraging the students to remember events that touched them, to share these experiences with those present and to let the experiences speak to them in the silence of their hearts. The students were thoroughly engaged throughout the day, sharing with each other in pairs, small groups and large group discussions. We felt privileged to hear their stories, many of which brought back similar memories of immersion trips that we ourselves have taken.

Students shared moments of joy in being welcomed like family by residents of their host country They openly cried for joy when dancing and celebrating with children and entire communities. They embraced being out of their comfort zone by tossing fear of the other aside and instead celebrating the commonalities. Many students wished our country would value relationships more than schedules. They were surprised at the presence of armed guards everywhere, and the fact that it made the people feel safer,  whereas the presence of increased armed personnel in our country causes fear and anxiety. The students commented on how the political decisions in one country have a great effect on the lives of the people in other countries; no county exists in isolation. Some students expressed sadness to realize that they were feeling isolated and alone upon returning home. At most they receive a nod of the head in passing, instead of a connecting touch, a warm and authentic greeting. They have seen for themselves that material things do not necessarily bring joy. Most students plan to take more immersion trips in the future. The worldwide concerns that they have studied have now become very real and personal. The students are a positive reflection of the academic education they are receiving at Le Moyne as well as the spiritual and organizational prowess of their campus ministry director Ms. Alice Zicardi. 

Quo Vadis was originally developed in 2016 by board member Bill Murphy in collaboration with other Affiliates. The program is adaptable and needs to remain flexible so it can speak to groups of various ages. The hope is that other Affiliate chapters will promote the program by reaching out to groups who take immersion trips. Facilitators need to have taken immersion trips themselves so as to be able to give personal examples of how they have been changed by their cross-cultural experiences. The Albany Affiliate team was deeply touched by being present to the students and sharing their experiences. Together we shared the Affiliate Pillars of Spirituality, Community, Action and Global Vision.  We encourage you to contact Bill Murphy (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for more information. You will come away knowing the Maryknoll charism is alive and well.



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